More than 100 stakeholders from mental health support teams (MHSTs), from across the east and south east of England, came together last week (21 September) to discuss their approaches to delivering the whole school approach within mental health support in schools and how this impact can be measured.

Led by Kent Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network and NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS), in collaboration with the Department for Education (DfE), the Whole School Approach Best Practice Review of Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) - Next Steps & Measuring Success event was an opportunity for mental health support staff to discuss their team’s approach.

The event followed the review and evaluation carried out by the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex in participation with the Charlie Waller Trust, last year, on the Best Practice Review and Evaluation of Whole School Approach (WSA) within MHSTs that looked at how mental health support teams are supporting schools across the east and south east of England.

Laura Whixton, National Programme Manager (MHSTs) Children’s Programme Mental Health Team, NHS England and Improvement, gave a national overview of the whole school approach activity.

Professor Robin Banerjee, Head of School of Psychology, University of Sussex, provided an overview of the previous best practice review and explored opportunities of developing whole school approach outcome measures, he said:

"It's clear that there is enthusiasm across MHSTs, schools and colleges for developing effective whole school approaches to mental health, yet there is also a shared sense that this is work in progress. This means that research on measuring and enhancing the impact of this work on the whole school community is more important than ever."

Staff from mental health support teams in Norfolk, West and East Sussex also showcased how they measure the impact of whole school approach within their MHSTs locally. 

Becca Randell, Implementation Manager for Children and Youngs People's mental health at ARC KSS, said:

"While there is a national key focus on measuring the clinical outcomes of MHSTs, the best practice review and feedback from this event highlights just how much the commitment and appetite there is to also measure the impact of the whole school approach within schools.  We will continue share the best practice and hope to work with MHSTs to further develop and pilot outcome measures for the whole school approach. " 

 Download event summary and presentations.

A video of the event can be found here.

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